i am four years old, and my great-grandmother is eighty-four.
i am four years old, and there is a dog at my feet. her name is luna, and she scares me sometimes because she'll bark when i don't give her my food, and she is about as tall as i am. today she is sniffing the old wooden kitchen floors of the rickety apartment, tongue lapping up the powdered sugar i drop on her head. "mira, nana - es nieve!" it never snows in santiago, so we like to pretend it does.
i am four years old, and my nana is curling her age-beaten hands over mine, helping me grind the pumpkin, steadying my child-wavering fingers with practiced precision. i ask her why her skin feels like paper, fragile against mine. she laughs. "soy vieja, mi vida. mi piel es tambien." i nod and i wonder what it is like to live thousands of days.
i am four years old, and i am putting way too much sugar on the sopaipilla. my nana doesn't protest, because i have always been la flacita, pobrecita, necesita comer. sus huesossepueden ver, por el amor de dios. i should always be fattened up, should always be drowning in alfajores and empanadas. (i will learn more about this, when, at the age of thirteen, my family decides that i have put on enough weight, that i am a growing woman and i look the part, and my cousin decides that i am no longer too flacita to be attractive to him). but for now i agree with them, so i pile on my mountain of sugar and eat every sopaipilla i've made, laughing through a missing-toothed smile and pink cheeks.
i am four years old, and for now i do not have any problems yet - for now i am burdened only by barbie dolls with missing shoes, and learning long words that are hard to pronounce. i am a child, blessed with health and ignorance and awe for the sopaipillas of my nana.